Thursday, March 31, 2011

Exploring and Understanding Rockets and Satellites (1967)

I have written numerous times about my happy memories of studying space in school. As I have collected old school materials this book has turned out to be my favorite.  I don't exactly remember seeing this book as a child but as an adult this one has the best stuff in it.

The table of contents show how facinating the words were. But it also had some great illustrations.

The paintings and illustrations have that inspirational quality that I love in this state-produced material. A rocket lifts off on the title page.

While not a painting I also found the standard rocket line-up to be beautiful and inspiring.

A very nice illustration of the trip to the Moon.

A couple of great space station illustrations.  Space stations of this type were phased out in most educational materials after 1967.

Finally here is a great illustration of a control room.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The line forms here for trip to Moon (1952)

 This is a piece of ephemera from Popular Science August 1952 that connects to one of my favorite 1950s Children's books (I know they all seem to be my favorites): Rocket Away (1953). I blogged about this book on August 12, 2009.

If you had to pick a center of "space culture" and thought in the early 1950s I am not sure that the Hayden Planetarium at New York's American Museum of Natural History would be the first place to come to mind. However they had a number of exhibitions and planetarium talks that kept the possibility of manned space flight in the public eye. They also hosted in 1951 one of the first space conferences. It was their 1952 conference at the Hayden that led to the publication of the Collier's articles.

But one of their best early publicity efforts was their reservations for the first space trips.  This application was available at the Planetarium, in numerous articles like this one from Popular Science and in Rocket Away. By this 1952 article over 24,000 people had signed up for a space flight. In fact Rocket Away was basically a non-fiction book about their exhibits and planetarium show. This illustration from Rocket Away was showing one of the models they had in their lobby.

The Popular Science article showed some of the other exhibits that helped excite children about space flight.

Museum and Planetariums have functioned as free universities where the public could interact with scientific ideas and as someone said "seeing is believing".  This particular exhibit and the bookstore that accompanied it got space flight books into the hands of thousands of children.  How many of them upon seeing this poster thought they would do that someday?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Reader's Digest Treasury for Young Readers (1963)

As usual I find space art hidden in the oddest places. During the early 1960s space flight was all about our American heroes. While Scott Carpenter was the first astronaut it was John Glenn who was our first "space hero."  Reader's Digest created this anthology of articles for children to read including this article about John Glenn.

Reader's Digest New Treasury for Young Readers. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association. 200 p. 28.5 cm. 1963.

Because he had orbited the Earth, the map his passage over the planet was almost always part of the description of his deeds.

This particular one is very beautiful as John Glenn's ship achieves separation.

Of course part of the story that was really only told after it was all over was how the separation of the rocket pack was not indicated correctly on John Glenn's control panel. He had to guess if his heat shield had been exposed correctly and had to start his re-entry not knowing if he would be protected or not.

Luckily he returned home safely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Adventure Bound (1956)

Adventure Bound is a 1956 school reader. Particularly of note in it in is the awesome cover shot of the X-1A. One of those spaceships that really looks like a spaceship and most of the shots I have seen of it were in black and white.

Arno Joseph Jewett; Marion Edman; Paul McKee. Adventure bound. Boston : Houghton Mifflin,  x, 598 p. ; 25 cm.Reading for enjoyment no. 7. 1956

Inside is one great rocket illustration for the story "Rocket to the Moon" (A reprinted story from "Open Road" magazine.)

This article about life on other planets is also an interesting inclusion in a school textbook.

The article included this beautiful Chesley Bonestell painting.  If you haven't discovered Chesley Bonestell's work yet and you are reading this blog you need to go and "google" his name right now.

The best advice there is.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Weekly Reader (1960-1966)

I admit it, I am addicted to Google Analytics. I have such an obscure hobby that it is very gratifying to see that I am reaching people all around the world.  What is even more fun is that the number of peole finding "Dreams of Space" per month is now averaging close to 1000 people. One of the postings that seems to attract lots of random Google searches is this one about "My Weekly Reader 1957-1958" from February 2009 so I thought I would do another about the 1960s.

My Weekly Reader was a weekly newspaper distributed in school. It had basic readings about the news and questions we would have to answer.  There was even a way for students to subscribe to a summer version so you would get your weekly news fix.

For elementary students this was a welcome break from school readers. The stories were interesting and fed our hunger for current events.

As the space age evolved this was my source of what was going to happen next in our space program. Sure I could look at magazines or try to watch the news (boring!) but this gave us something to talk about at recess.

Everyone's childhood seems endless so to find these fragile milestones of my past is a lot of fun.

And of course the best part of My Weekly Reader was that you got to take it home, so I have been luckily enough to rediscovery some child's stash that survived these 50+ (!) years

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quaker "Space Flight to the Moon" (1953)

One of my favorite early set of space flight images are those from the back of some cereal boxes. In 1953 Quaker Oats featured "Space Flight to the Moon" on the back of Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat Cereal. 

These were three dimensional images you could cut out and assemble for your own space dioramas. While I do not have all 8 parts I would like to show off  images of the series that I have found or I own. Note all description include an exclamation point!

Number one was the "Space Port!"

Number two was "Rocket Ship...Away!"

Number three was "Stopover at Space Island!"

Numbers four was "Passing Space Liner!"

Number five was "Wing Repair in Outer Space!"

Number six was "Target -- Moon!" and number seven was "Landing on Moon!"

Number eight was "Exploring the Moon!" As a long-time reader of the backs of cereal boxes as I ate breakfast, I can only image how these pictures sparked imaginations.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

About Moon and About Rocket (1964)

My translator is not around so I don't have a title for this one. (UPDATE one of my readers suggests the title is "About Moon and about Rocket")

However that is not an excuse for not showing you some cool pictures.

Russian space art is different somehow. Beyond being less realistic they somehow transmit the glory of space flight better. It is a romantic adventure to go into the sky and discover new things. so allow me to but my romantic interpretations on these illustrations.

Like this example which speaks without text how amazing it is that something so heavy couold be launched into space.

Again while not realistic I feel how far these explorers are from earth and how each rock they find is different from anything found before.

How big would a space station be? As big as launching a skyscraper up into the sky. To build something that big to endlessly orbit the earth is a wonderful thing. Certainly something we have yet to have the will to try.

If people ever live on the Moon they will find it a cold place that will have to be "tamed" to allow us to live there.

But someday we will have the will to try.